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042:business:services An Independent Educational Net Magazine englishtimes.net


TRAINING MATTERS front      help

Talking Technologies has worked with all the speech recognition and text-to-speech systems since they first became practically useful, rather than just technically interesting, back in 1991. I guess it means we've done all the research for you, so you can let us get on with making voice interfaces work for you. Which is why we provide installation, training, development, and technical support.

Sometimes the value of training isn't obvious. We buy a product and never quite get the best out of it. I can understand how people are reluctant to spend money on a computer engineer or a software trainer, because all the hype from hardware and software companies is based on easy to use. However, they're not easy to use, people don't understand manuals, and technical support is invisible, it's just run out, or it's expensive.
No matter what the ads say, computers are very complicated. If working with your computer is important to you, think about paying for help. The service part is the bit that often really makes it work. That's why pencils cost 10p and sharpened pencils cost 15p.

We know from experience that people are trying to squeeze any new skill into odd bits of time during the day. They're continually interrupted by calls, bleepers, meetings, colleagues, their kids, your dog, my cat, and meteorite warnings. Training means that you'll have to set aside some time and space. You can tell people in advance not to disturb you, and not to call you. Free of potential interruptions, your voice will be relaxed and natural.

We've also found out that users are often trying to use voice in applications they don't really understand. Not just the word processor, but things like Device Manager, Outlook, Explorer, and even Windows Help. Subsequent failures are generally caused by a lack of awareness on the part of the user. The IT industry is very competitive, and any skill you can learn makes you more valuable, not just as yourself but for your ability to help or train others. You can become mission critical.

Talking Technologies works with professional trainers and can train you at home, at work, or here. Some trainers have been full-time teachers. Others have run corporate training courses for a hundred people. You don't get a technician or a salesman. Or a temp who picked it up yesterday.

Voice recognition is still a comparatively new technology so there are virtually no manuals, books, courses, videos, or CDs, to rely on. In fact, someone emailed me to say that the only real help she ever got was on these internet pages.

Voice recognition is something you can become good at quite quickly because it uses a skill you already have. Talking. So you don't even have to learn all the buzzwords and technical terms. Take a day off and let us train you.

Call us, if the light at the end of the tunnel is someone holding a torch. Call us, if you're so far out of your depth that you're wandering round Atlantis.

Copyright and Permission: Talking Technologies 2002

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The English Times
An independent educational internet magazine to help you learn English

Talking Technologies and Originators Copyright 2002